San Francisco's Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments this afternoon in the State of Washington v. Donald Trump, the lawsuit that led to the suspension of President Donald Trump's contentious immigration ban. Leading companies in the tech world, including Google, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook, have spoken out and taken legal action against the ban. Today, lawyers for the Trump administration argued to lift the injunction placed on Trump's executive order, while Washington's solicitor general fought to keep the suspension in place. Before diving into today's arguments, some background: On January 27th, Trump signed an executive order temporarily banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. The ban affected refugees, visa holders and US permanent residents from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen, and was implemented immediately.
Demonstrators gather near the White House to protest President Trump's travel ban on six majority Muslim countries on March 11, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Tasos Katopodis, AFP/Getty Images) SAN FRANCISCO – Redone or not, tech companies still oppose the Trump administration's revised travel ban on those arriving from six predominantly Muslim countries. On Wednesday more than 150 tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Tesla and Uber, filed an amicus brief against the travel restrictions. The revised executive order, issued March 6, would restrict for 90 days the issuance of visas to nationals from six predominantly Muslim countries -- Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- and suspend for 120 days the entry to the United States by refugees. Iraq was on the list for the executive order but was removed from the second, though Iraqi nationals may face additional scrutiny when traveling according to the second. Judges in Hawaii and Maryland have blocked enforcement of the suspension.
Security experts at Trend Micro have spotted a new attack relying on weaponized Word documents and PowerShell scripts that appears related to the MuddyWater cyber-espionage campaign. The first MuddyWater campaign was observed in late 2017, then researchers from Palo Alto Networks were investigating a mysterious wave of attacks in the Middle East. The experts called the campaign'MuddyWater' due to the confusion in attributing these attacks that took place between February and October 2017 targeting entities in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Georgia, India, Pakistan, Turkey, and the United States to date. Threat actors used PowerShell-based first stage backdoor named POWERSTATS, across the time the hackers changed tools and techniques. In March 2018, experts at FireEye uncovered a massive phishing campaign conducted by TEMP.Zagros group (another name used by the experts to track the MuddyWater), targeting Asia and Middle East regions from January 2018 to March 2018.
In a recent blog post and tweet, Google announced that it'd be launching a new Artificial Intelligence research centre to be opened later this year in Accra, Ghana. We're continuing to expand our @GoogleAI teams around the world. We'll be opening our first research center in Africa in #Ghana later this year! If you're a machine learning researcher interested in working in Accra, Ghana, apply: https://t.co/YgntDigTJt With this, Accra will be the first African city to join the likes of New York, Montreal, Tokyo, San Francisco, Paris, Beijing, Zurich, Toronto, Seattle, Cambridge/Boston, and Tel Aviv/Haifa, in hosting Google AI centres.
The International Game Developers Association was one of the first in the games industry to speak out against Trump's immigration ban. It's no surprise they've taken their protest of the ban a step further to actually help developers in the seven affected countries get visas to come work in the US. The IGDA will be offering free memberships to developers in the seven countries -- Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Syria -- which, in addition to a host of other benefits, grants members easier access to visas to come work in the US. Membership fees usually range from $25 a year for an unemployed developer to $48 a year. In an interview in a hotel near the Game Developers Conference taking place in San Francisco this week, Kate Edwards, executive director at IGDA, explained how being a member would help these developers.